I stayed a Riu Palace for six days with my wife and two small children (8, 5). The staff was very helpful in finding us a room that was not near the performance stage (as our children go to bed while the venue is still active.) This is a very family friendly hotel and staff. The distance from the hotel to the pool and beach is unimportant. It is an easy walk.
The staff was spectacular. In particular, our server Steven at Arenal greeted us every morning like we were family and when he learned our kids were cautiously bilingual, he went out of his way to engage them in Spanish. He was friendly and attentive without being overbearing. Many great hotels and restaurants should take lessons from the staff at this hotel.
The hotel also has a crew of personnel who check in with the guests around the pool area and grounds and who put on things like pool aerobics and pool games. At 8PM they pull many of the kids on stage for a dance performance before the performances geared for the adults kick off. Our kids loved these folks. They all work on the dance crew that puts on the nightly performances as well. These guys deserve triple of whatever they are making.
This hotel is big for costa rica. The room is modern style, which sees a bit out of place but is comfortable and very functional. One issue this hotel must address was that there was a strong odor with the water in the toilet which the hotel is aware of. It went away after 2-3 days. They need to address this as many guests noticed it. Without it, this place would be 4.5-5 stars.
The food was great at breakfast and pretty solid at lunch and dinner. Skip the Italian restaurant. I would encourage the Hotel to scrap the menu and start over.
One valuable note: Based upon a prior Tripadvisor comment, we tracked down Carlos Campos on the beach to help us arrange day trips and tours. We found him the first day ( ask any of the guys on the beach, they know him). We booked all private tours and he was awesome. While it may be possible to cobble together some of these excursions on your own, we felt that the local knowledge was well worth any cost. We loved each of the things we did-- including jetskiing with wild dolphins. Highly highly recommend him. And ask for George as your driver. We used him for four days and he drove us to our next hotel. He was like a part of the family. Carlos is a great resource who can totally simplify your excursions so that you can focus on important things like remembering the sunscreen...
In sum, phenomenal staff and very good hotel. And don't miss Carlos.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The hotel lies directly on the beautiful, fine-sandy Matapalo beach, next to the hotel Riu Guanacaste. * The guest of Riu Palace Costa Rica may use the facilities in sister hotel Riu Guanacaste, except dinner meal * Main Building 6 floors 538 rooms * Next City Liberia 42.0 km approx. * Airport Daniel Oduber International Airport (LIR) 33.0 km approx. * Next ATM / Bank: 200 m * Credit cards accepted: Visa, MasterCard ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Hotel Riu Palace Costa Rica Guanacaste